I saw my rheumatologist yesterday. His first question was, “Are you still breastfeeding?”
Are we? Sort of.
Gibson will only sit still and latch on long enough to actually nurse at night when he’s sleepy. Otherwise, he will only accept sustenance from a bottle or by spoon. Which is, you know, heartbreaking. And it makes me treasure those three or four minutes he’ll nurse at night.
Thanks to the reduced nursing sessions and my reaction to the pump, my supply is almost nothing. I pumped three times yesterday and didn’t even manage an ounce of milk.
When do I throw in the towel?
The doctor wants me to go back on Enbrel to treat my RA. But that’s no good for breastfed babies. So if I choose to go back on the drugs, I have to stop breastfeeding. With how little milk I’m able to pump and Gibson lack of interest…it’s tempting.
Plus, I’ve been on steroids and high doses of NSAIDs just to get through my days. Kneeling down to give Gibs a bath would be torture if I weren’t on these meds to keep my inflammation at bay. Feeling strong enough to carry his car seat or pick him up would be impossible if my wrists were aching the way they do without the meds. But ultimately, this is no way to live.
I’ve gained a lot of weight thanks to the steroids. Maybe other people have different side effects, but eight months on 20 mg of prednisone a day has helped me maintain my pregnancy figure. Honestly, I don’t care about the weight. I told myself that no matter what, I’d breastfeed to one year, and I don’t care if I gain 100 pounds thanks to the measures I have to take to get there.
But there is that high blood pressure to consider too. And my doctor didn’t like the looks of me one bit. He supports me if I choose to continue to breastfeed, but my resolve is wearing thin. All this time I’ve been telling myself that even a few drops of breast milk a day is better than none. But now… now I have to weigh the costs to my health.
Dammit, body. You couldn’t get pregnant without assistance. Now you can’t nurse your baby to the target goal of one year? What happened to me (or that I did to myself) that turned my body into this semi-functional pile of mush? If the perpetuation of the species depended on me, the human race would die out. And it’s not fair.
So I had myself a little pity party last night. But now it’s a new day. And I have to make some decisions. Nothing is cut and dry, black and white. All of the choices have pros and cons. Why do all parenting decisions have to feel so damn weighty?
Gibson gets his flu shot next week. I’ll talk to his pediatrician about this during the appointment. I feel sure he’s just going to tell me that it’s fine either way. And as The Man keeps reminding me, Gibs is strong and growing. He won’t starve without my milk. And soon he won’t even need formula either.
Three months of exclusive breastfeeding. Five months of supplementing. Is it all over? I don’t know.